One Dish, One Story: Quesadillas With Barbara
When Barbara looks out of the left window of the food truck she can see the ocean. Since February this year, she has been working at the same silver food truck in South Beach almost every day. Whenever there are no clients, she and her two co-workers sing along to the Spanish pop music coming from the little radio on the shelf.
Barbara is from Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, and since she left her home she feels she can breathe easier: "I like my job, it's fun and I earn money to support myself." She smiles a lot while she tells me her story and serves me a quesadilla.
Barbara loves the beach - and Miami Beach in particular. She has heard that many locals don’t really like South Beach, but she does. Here she meets people from all over the world – every day and from places she wants to travel to. “I love how everyone speaks a different language, has a different accent”, she says.
She insists on speaking English, but changes to Spanish when she doesn’t find the right words. Before coming to Miami in February, Barbara spent seven months in Argentina. She earned money working in restaurants and traveled around. Then her older sister invited her to come and stay with her in Miami.
She stayed even after her sister moved to New York some months later. “I like Miami, it’s fun – I run, I swim and take photos, which I send to my mom.” Since her sister is not in town anymore, Barbara is sharing a room with a girl from Colombia. “Miami is expensive, but if you are just by yourself it’s OK.”
Her smile fades when she tells me about her father. “He died two years ago, but it was for the better. He was very sick, and it’s horrible to be sick in Venezuela.”
Her mother, her grandparents and two little sisters are still living in Caracas. She wishes they could also leave the political and economical turmoil in Venezuela behind. She stays in touch with her family via Skype and Facetime and sends them picture. “My mom is happy for me that I left, that I have opportunities.”
'I have too many plans and too many dreams.'
For now all Barbara wants to do is travel. In a couple of days she will fly to Spain. “I am going with nobody, alone, but that’s okay.”
After some months in Europe, she wants to go to Brazil, then to Mexico. But her dream is to live in Bali. And to get married and have kids. “Maybe in six years – and it has to be someone who will always travel with me. “ She laughs.
Will she ever come back to Miami? “Maybe,” Barbara says and laughs. “I have too many plans and too many dreams.”